Commercial waste FAQs

Please call the Environmental Services information line at (510) 287-1651. It would be helpful to tell us the discharge or spill location, color, approximate volume and if the discharge is ongoing. An EBMUD representative will investigate the occurrence or refer you to the proper agency.

Several different permit types regulate industrial and commercial wastewater discharges to the community sewer as well as trucked wastes accepted at the EBMUD wastewater treatment plant in Oakland. Get more information about EBMUD's Permit Program.

Permits are required for many reasons, depending on type of business, the volume and characteristics of wastewater discharged and the potential risk or impact to the collection system and wastewater treatment plant, EBMUD personnel, or San Francisco Bay. Get information on permit requirements on the Permit Program page.

Permit applications for EBMUD’s wastewater permit programs can be downloaded and printed.

In addition to EBMUD wastewater discharge limits, some facilities may be subject to federal regulations. The federal regulations can be viewed on the U.S. EPA website by scrolling down to “Subchapter N - Effluent Guidelines and Standards” and selecting “Parts 400 – 424” or “Parts 425 – 471”.

Permit fees and charges vary depending on the type of permit issued to a facility. Current charges may be viewed on the wastewater rates, charges and fees page.

Treatment charges for most customers are based on the Business Classification Code assigned to the account. For customers requiring a discharge permit, treatment costs are calculated during the permitting process. More information on treatment costs can be viewed on the wastewater rates, charges and fees page.

The list of wastes currently accepted are: winery wastes (lagoon, lees, pomace); domestic waste; portable toilet and septic tank waste; fats, oils, and grease (FOG); food processing waste; animal processing waste; rendering facility waste; municipal water and wastewater sludge; groundwater; storm water. EBMUD will be accepting organic solid waste by Winter 2003. Get more information about the Resource Recovery Program.

The U.S. EPA requires EBMUD to control discharges to the sanitary sewer. This control is necessary to protect personnel working in the collection and treatment system, to protect the collection system and treatment plant itself from discharges that can interfere with its normal operations, and to prevent pollutants from passing through the treatment plant into San Francisco Bay.

EBMUD began a Source Control Program to meet these requirements in 1972. A Pretreatment Program was developed including issuance of industrial permits to help businesses meet regulations for discharges to the sanitary sewer. In 1988, EBMUD began its Pollution Prevention Program which focuses on waste reduction, control and elimination through permits to selected commercial businesses, and education and public outreach to all customers.

Pollution prevention is the reduction and control of pollutants before discharge to the community sewer. EBMUD developed a Pollution Prevention Program, which focuses on waste reduction and elimination through permit requirements to select commercial businesses, and education and public outreach to all customers.

Pollution prevention can eliminate or reduce many costs for commercial and industrial users by avoiding permit fees, chemical costs, and disposal charges while helping EBMUD to reduce the discharge of pollutants to the wastewater treatment plant and the San Francisco Bay.

Select commercial businesses are permitted in EBMUD’s Pollution Prevention Program. Business types are chosen based on the pollutants that the businesses generate and EBMUD’s need to reduce and control the pollutants discharged to the community sewer.

EBMUD created a "Special Discharge" permit program specifically for these types of discharges. Get permit program information and a permit application.

The following public entities own or operate wastewater collection systems within EBMUD's wastewater service area.

    City of Alameda
    City of Albany
    City of Berkeley
    City of Emeryville
    City of Oakland
    City of Piedmont
    Stege Sanitary District maintains the collection system for the City of El Cerrito, the Kensington area, and the Richmond Annex (part of the City of Richmond).